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Tag:Amir Johnson
Posted on: February 3, 2009 7:39 am
Edited on: February 3, 2009 7:42 am
 

Don't Stop Believing..............

..................... in the Pistons (Pistons fans). This is mainly addressed to Pistons fans because in all honestly, I could careless what the rest of the league thinks. In fact, the Pistons have shown in the past they do better when they are the underdog and don't have a lot of people supporting them. So I doubt I will change any minds of other fans that have completely given up on the Pistons (and I don't intend to), but I just want to make sure my fellow Detroit fans keep the faith and don't lose hope.

The first thing to remember is we haven't even made it to the All Star break yet. The Pistons always play better in the 2nd half of the year, and in their most successful seasons (i.e. the 2004 championship season) they catch fire shortly after the All Star break and carry that into the playoffs. The Pistons can still get things together and star clicking after they have time to figure things out during the break. It's not like the Pistons are a below .500 team struggling for a playoff spot. They will make the playoffs, but the only thing that is questionable is what seed they will get. It doesn't matter if the Cavaliers do win the division because back 2004, the Pacers finished ahead of the Pistons to win the division, yet Detroit still went on to win the championship.

The next thing to consider is look closely and compare this year to the 2004 championship season. They go out and make a trade for a superstar player, they start out slow and everyone doubts them (and continues to do so all the way until they win the championship), a little while after the All Star break they catch fire and finish the season strong, and they carry their success all the way through the playoffs and win the championship against a team no one thought could be beat. Ever since then things have changed; everyone started supporting the Pistons and putting them amongst the contenders every year. The only problem was they couldn't seem to get past the ECFs (other than the following year in 2005). This was because they had gotten overconfident and didn't have that same "hunger" factor as they did in 2004.

This year, they made the trade for Allen Iverson , and while they might be doing better right now with Chauncey Billups , they would still fall short with him again in the playoffs. Billups is still one of the best PGs in the game (IMO 2nd behind Chris Paul ) and he contributed just as much (or more) as everyone else to our success and in helping us win the championship (he deserved that Finals MVP). But he, along with the rest of the team, and had gotten arrogant, cocky, and overly confident and felt that they had enough talent and skill that they could take games off and relax and only play when they needed to. He had lost his hunger to win another championship, and that in turn rubbed off on the entire team. I'm not saying it was his fault entirely, because Rasheed Wallace and the rest of the team had a lot to do with as well (also losing Larry Brown didn't help any either).

AI is one of the league's oldest veterans and an all time great player. His years are numbered now and he doesn't have much time left. He has had so much individual success and accomplishments throughout his career, but has yet to win the ultimate prize: a title. You can say he isn't a team player and is a cancer, but he wants to win just as bad as anyone. He hasn't been on any great teams (Carmelo Anthony is not a complimenting player for him) and every team he has joined has gotten better with him. He wants to win a championship, and has that "hunger" factor in him. He has shown that he is willing to sacrifice his high stats in order for the team to play better. I'm sure if Curry had the guts to bench him and make him their 6th man (but still get big minutes like the Spurs would do with Manu Ginobili ) he would have accepted his role if it would help the team have more success. He is still one of the league's best scorers, he can pass very well, and has been making an effort on defense (though his size will always work against him).

Curry is only in his first year as head coach (not just with the Pistons, but first head coach job in his career; he's a rookie), and he still has lots to learn. However, I can tell just by listening to his comments and post game reports that he is trying his best to make the team have more success. Now we can't expect him to be the next Red Auerbach in his first year of head coaching, so it's not like he's going to make all the right moves right off the bat. I have faith that during the break, he'll be able to sit back and evaluate things and make better decisions on what to do. He will realize that he needs to get the team to focus more on defense and playing the whole through. He needs to find the right rotation that works, and use it for the rest of the season. He needs to start running more plays for Stuckey and let him get to the hoop like we know he can do so well. He even needs to consider benching AI instead of Richard Hamilton (because Rip works better with the starters and AI would be huge off the bench).

The one thing that needs to be done, that I'm not so sure is possible, is to get Rasheed to stop jacking up so many 3 point shots. No Pistons coach has been able to do this since Larry Brown, and it has been a major problem for Detroit. He is a great post player, and without him the Pistons don't have any inside presence on offense. Sure AI, Stuckey, and Prince can get to the rim but they don't have any post player who can score inside without Sheed. That's why teams can just sit back and pack the paint preventing the drives and turning us into a jump shooting team (which we are not). When he's hot he's unstoppable, but when he's cold he's terrible. Curry needs to man up and realize he runs this team, and not the players. He needs to stand up to Sheed and tell him to get back down in the paint where he belongs. I have no problem with him shooting about 5 shots per game from outside (maybe a little more if he's shooting well that game) because it helps stretch the defense, but shooting 10+ and leading the league in 3pt attempts is not something we want from Sheed. I don't know if Curry will have the courage to step up to him and do this, but this is the ONLY thing that I'm not confident Curry will be able to do after the All Star break.

We also can't forget that even if we don't win it all this year we have an even better future ahead of us. Rodney Stuckey is only in his 2nd year and is already starting to become a very good point guard capable of running the point for us. He is only going to get better, and the best is yet to come from him. He has shown a lot of improvement on defense this year (a concern last year), and now I'm completely sold on him being our next floor general who can lead us to a championship. Jason Maxiell , Arron Afflalo , Amir Johnson , and Tayshaun Prince all have lots of years left in them and will become keys to our success. Also, if Sheed retires and/or leaves the Pistons at the end of this year, and  AI is not able to get us a championship and decides to either call it quits or go to a new in 2010, we will have tons of money to use in that star studded FA class in the summer of 2010.

So don't lose hope Pistons fans because there is light at the end of this dark tunnel we are in right now. It may be hard to see right now, but keep the faith. Don't worry about what all the haters say, because we don't need the support of the rest of the league. All that matters is what we know about our team, and that we keep our faith in them. We still have a shot at the championship this year (whether anyone realizes it or not), and we definitely have a very good future ahead of us with Stuckey and the 2010 FA class. Remember the 2004 championship season. So say it with me my Pistons brothers:

DEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTRROOOOOOOOOOIITT BAAAAAAAAAASSSSKKEEETTBAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted on: November 10, 2008 7:52 pm
 

Big B's Fav 5 Pistons

After watching 6 games so far, I thought I would talk about a few players that have impressed me so far. This doesn't necessarily mean these are my 5 favorite Pistons players, and certainly doesn't mean these are the 5 best players for the Pistons so far. These are just the 5 players I have been impressed with and I have enjoyed watching the most so far. To give a little catchy ring to it, I'll call it my "Fav 5." And just before anyone says something, no I'm not including Allen Iverson. He will be on this list by the end of the year, but he's only played 2 games so far, and hasn't had enough time to work into the offense very well yet. He's still learning how the offense works, and how he will fit into it. Don't worry haters, he will be great soon enough.

Don't worry, I haven't signed a deal with T-mobile. I would love to work with Dwyane Wade, but I can't work with Charles Barkley. It's just wouldn't work out. I feel for D-Wade, Kenny Smith, and anyone else that has to work with the Round Mound of Rebound.


Fav 5 Pistons players (so far):

1. Tayshaun Prince -

Prince has been the Pistons MVP so far, and there is no question about that. He is averaging 17.0 ppg 7.2 rpg 1.0 bpg 48.6% FG 64.3% 3pt 88.9% FT in 35.2 minutes per game so far this year. He has scored over 20 points twice now (27 against the Raptors and 23 against the Cetlics), and scored 19 twice (against the Pacers and Nets). He has only scored under 10 once so far this season (against the Wizards). He has had one double-double which came against the Nets (19 points and 11 rebounds).

He has shown that when the Pistons need him to, he can put up great numbers. In the past, he has just been their defensive specialist who can have great offensive games from time to time, but inconsistently. However this year (so far), he has maintained his defensive greatness, but is starting to become more consistent on offense. He might be having his break out year this year. Keep on eye on him.

2. Rasheed Wallace -

Even though he disappointed my last game against the Celtics (because he wouldn't play in the paint and only wanted to shoot outside), he has still done very well this season. He has 12.2 ppg 8.8 rpg 2.0 bpg 1.0 spg 40.0% FG 37.0% 3pt in 34.8 minutes per game. He has had 3 double-doubles so far. His best game came against the Wizards when he had 17 points 12 rebounds and 6 blocks.

He has always been good on both sides of the ball. Since he has joined the Pistons, his numbers have declined big time. However, that doesn't mean he was any worse. He has sacrificed his good stats to become a better team player. He is showing his age a little, and that has affected him on the offensive part. He hasn't been scoring well, and is trying to score only outside most of the time. He has had problems with this in the past, but it is even worse so far this season. However, he is playing very well on defense, and is rebounding very well.


3. Amir Johnson -

He has been doing very well in the starting role this year. He has 5.8 ppg 4.8 rpg 1.2 spg 1.0 bpg 59.3% FG in 18.7 minutes per game. He has been really great on defenses, causing lots of turnovers and rebounding well. He has gotten most of his points off of fast breaks, second chance points, and open shots (teams will leave him open thinking he can't hit the jumper). He hasn't been playing huge minutes so his numbers are nothing special, but for the time he has played they are very good. If he continues playing this well (or gets even better), he is doing exactly what the Pistons need him to.

4. Walter Herrmann -

He has been great coming off the bench for the Pistons. He has 6.3 ppg 3.0 rpg 50.0% FG 41.2% 3pt in 15.0 minutes. He hasn't had lots of minutes, but when he comes in he gives the Pistons good production. He plays hard on defense, rebounds well, and gets open for some shots on offense (love those flashy layups!). Considering his only played 15 min./game, I think his numbers are very good. Go Fabio!


5. Rodney Stuckey -

Stuckey has pickup right where he left off last season. Coming in off the bench and playing well at the point. He has 9.2 ppg 3.3 apg 40.4% FG 84.2% FT in 21.1 minutes. He's scoring well, and distributing the ball. I would like to see him play a little better defense, but he is learning quickly and will get in soon enough. Also, he is 100% from the 3-point line. Okay, so what if he's only 1-1, it's still 100%!

Honorable Mention:


Will Bynum -

He's only played 3 games after being activated, but he has been playing very well in those 3 games. He might not be a guy many people know, but he has been playing great for the Pistons. He has 9.3 ppg 2.7 apg 64.7% FG 50.0% 3pt in 17.0 minutes per game. As you can see, his numbers are very similar to Stuckey's, so he is doing very well as the Pistons 3rd string point guard. He can score very well, and has lots of speed. I'm keeping my eye on this guy because he's showed my some good things so far.
Posted on: November 8, 2008 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2008 8:45 am
 

Detroit Pistons vs. Boston Celtics Preview

Round 1: Boston Celtics (5-1) at Detroit Pistons (4-1)


It's time for the first battle of the year between these two teams. Last year's Eastern Conference Finals teams and still the best two teams in the East. Anyone that watched these games last year knows how exciting and heated they were. Richard Hamilton and Ray Allen were always at each other’s throats, Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett battling in the post, Paul Pierce and Tayshaun Prince playing out on the perimeter, and Chauncey Billups and Rajon Rondo battling at the point. Not to mention watching bench players like Jason Maxiell and Glen "Big Baby" Davis coming in and making an impact. All the games were decided in the final minutes, and stay intense all throughout the entire game. These were some of best games out of all the games in the last NBA season. The rivalry from the 80s between Bird with the Celtics and Isaiah and the Bad Boys with the Pistons seems to be back in full force now.

This game has added a new and interesting element now. Newly acquired Allen Iverson (traded from Denver Nuggets for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Cheikh Samb) will be playing his second game for the Pistons. He looks to be the guy who can get the Pistons back to the Finals, and the Celtics will be the team standing in their way. AI played very well in his first game. He scored 24 points on 50% field goal shooting and 11 for 13 at the free throw line. He also added in 6 assists and 1 steal to complete is first game in Detroit. Despite his play, the Pistons weren't able to defeat the Nets and suffered their first loss of the season. He has shown that he is willing to adapt to the Pistons style. He only shot the ball 12 times, and was passing the ball a lot in trying to be more of a distributor. He also was playing defense. Now, Devin Harris did go score a lot, but he was scoring on everyone, not just AI.

The Pistons are 4-1 at the top of the Central Division so far. Their only loss came to the Nets where Devin Harris exploded for 38 points. They have got off to a good start this year. All their players are continuing to play very good, but a few players have stepped so far this year. Tayshaun Prince has been the best player for the Pistons so far. He has 16.4 points per game, 7.0 rebounds per game, 1.2 blocks per game, 46.6% field goal percentage, and 58.3% 3-point percentage. He has continued to play very well on the defensive end, and is rebounding very well so far. He also is looking more consistent on the offensive end, being able to get to basket or hit the outside shot. Amir Johnson is the Pistons' starting center this year, and he has played very well so far. He has been contributing some on offense, but has mainly been a factor on defense. He has been able to use his athleticism to get rebounds and forcing turnovers. He won't be lighting up the stat sheet, but he will contribute a lot to this team.

The Celtics are leading the Atlantic Division at 5-1.Their only loss has come to the Pacers where they just seemed to an off game. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett continue to lead Boston with their great play. Pierce has 17.8 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, 1.3 steals per game, and 4.3 assists per game. KG has 15.7 points per game, 9.7 rebounds per game, and 1.3 steals per game. Ray Allen has also chipped in 14.7 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game. Rajon Rondo, Leon Powe, and Kendrick Perkins have all been contributed very well to Boston as well.

Key Matchups of the game:

Leon Powe vs. Jason Maxiell

These two guys might not play head to head very much, but it will important to see which guy will come off the bench and contribute most to their team. Maxiell will be needed to provide tons of energy, rebounding, and defense. He needs to get a few highlight blocks and dunks to get his team pumped up. Powe will need to rebound and provide low post scoring. These will be the two key players coming off the bench for this game.

Allen Iverson vs. Rajon Rondo

Both have lots of speed and athleticism, and both will be at the point for their teams. It will be interesting to see if Rondo can keep AI from having a great game today. Even more interesting will be if AI can keep Rondo from scoring a lot as well.

Paul Pierce vs. Tayhaun Prince

The two wingmen will be battling all night long. Both will be their team's best perimeter defender, and it will be important to see who can slow down the other more. It will be fun to watch these guys battle outside and battle for rebounds. Very key matchup here.

Ray Allen vs. Richard Hamilton

This is probably the most fun matchup to watch. Former UConn guards will be in a tough battle with each all night. Every time these two play, they’re in each other's faces and fighting for position all throughout the game. There will be fouls called, and there will be 3-point shots made. It will be important to see which guy can impact their team the most.

Kevin Garnett vs. Rasheed Wallace

Battle of the big men. Sheed vs. KG is the most important matchup of the game. These two big men anchor their team in the post on offense and defense. They will fight for boards, they will battle for points, and they will see who can score the most points outside the paint.

 

It's going to be a great game to watch, so I suggest you drop change any plans you already have so you can watch this game. It's on at 6:00 pm ET Sunday, November 9th. Get ready for an Eastern Conference showdown at the Palace tomorrow night. And if everything goes right, my Pistons will win!

Posted on: November 3, 2008 1:54 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2008 3:51 pm
 

Allen Iverson to Detroit

Allen Iverson to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Cheikh Samb


Joe Dumars has kept his promise of shaking things up, and really meant it when he said no one was safe. He traded the 2004 NBA Finals MVP in Billups, who has been leading the helm in Detroit for 6 years now and has helped the Pistons get to the Eastern Conference Finals every year. However, the last couple years he has had a mentality that has seem to rub off on most of the Pistons team. They have seem to think they can only play when they feel like it, and they have enough talent to win when the want to.....with our without the coach's help. He is still a great PG, but nothing like he was in 2004.

Allen Iverson is one of the league's best scorers. He can score from anywhere on the court at any time. He knows how to drive, he knows how to shoot jumpers, and he knows how to shoot 3's. He may not be able to defend other shooting guards because of his height, but he can play very good defense on the point guards who are closer to his size. He also has the ability to pass the ball very well when he wants to. On his previous teams (76ers and Nuggets), he wasn't asked to do this much so he might not have been able to show it very well. However, if the Pistons need him to he can distribute the ball sometimes. He is a shoot first PG, but can pass very well.

Now you can't overlook Tayshaun Prince's ability to pass as well. Prince has become a point forward at times for the Pistons recently. He can bring the ball down, and handle it very well. If they want A.I. to focus on scoring, they can have Prince worry about distributing and handling the ball. He can do very well in this role if the Pistons need him. Tayshaun might not put up great numbers, but he is a very good player that can contribute big time to a championship team.

Losing Antonio McDyess does hurt; there's no lying about that. He has provided good defense and offense down in the low post for us. He was a constant double-double threat in the starting lineup or off the bench. There is a chance Denver will buyout his contract and he could sign back with Detroit. However, we still have players like Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiell, and Kwame Brown that can step up and make up for his loss. Maxiell and Amir are a year older (and wiser) now. Both can provide very good defense, rebounding, and energy. Kwame might not be a great player, but he can play when the Curry calls upon him.

Rodney Stuckey will no doubt get more playing time, and be looked at to come in and be the floor general and provide some leadership off the bench. He has shown in last years playoffs that he is improving quickly, and he can be great off the bench for the Pistons.

The money situation has also improved. The Pistons no longer have to worry about Chauncey's contract, and Iverson's expires this year. That is a big plus in the financial area for Detroit.

Iverson looks to bring veteran leadership and great scoring to the Pistons. At 35 years old, he is still very quick and very agile. He can play 38-40 minutes every game (has only played under 39 minutes one time in his entire career). He is not a selfish player as some might think. He has been working very well with the rest of the offense in Denver. Their defense was just horrible, and that is what made the team look worse. When in Philly, he had to no one to work with. The best player on the 2001 roster (when took the 76ers to the NBA Finals) was Dikembe Mutombo at 34 years old! Now if he was able to take that team to the NBA Finals, what do you think he can do with the Pistons?

A.I. looks to finally get the NBA championship title he deserves. Like Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen of last year, he is a Hall of Fame player who has been stuck on teams that couldn't contend, but now he goes to a team that has a great shot at the NBA championship.
Posted on: October 30, 2008 6:22 pm
 

Who has more to prove?

There are 3 main guys who have the pressure on them in Detroit. The whole team has something to prove, and show everyone they are still able to compete for a title. However, these 3 guys will have the most to prove and most likely the most pressure on them to get the Pistons back to the NBA Finals.

Michael Curry


He is filling in at head coach for Flip Saunders a.k.a. "Slip" The Pistons have been to the Finals 7 straight years now, but haven't won a championship since 2004, and haven't even been to the NBA Finals since 2005. The players have become too arrogant and lazy. They think they can slack off and only play when they want to. They believe that their talent is enough to get the team a championship, and they believe they are above the coaches. Curry has to be the guy that steps in and runs this team. He can't let the players slack off and try to do what they want to do. They need a leader in Curry to get them back to the Finals and win another championship. He has to be able to make these guys listen to him, and make them respect him. In other words, they need him to be more like Larry Brown and less like "Slip" Saunders. This will be a big key factor into whether the Pistons can make another title run this year or not.

Rasheed Wallace

There have been reports and rumors that this is his last year. Whether they are true or not, his contract runs out at the end of the year. At 34 years old, Sheed doesn't have a lot of time left. This will most likely be his last year to contend for the title unless he pulls a Bill Walton. Sheed has to step up big time this season. He can't let his emotions run wild; he has to be able to control himself and play like he cares every night. He has to be one of the team leaders and set an example to everyone else. He has to work with his coach (Curry) and be able to give everything he's got left this year to get the Pistons another title. He has to shut out the refs and any one else that gets his emotions going. He just has to concentrate on playing great basketball for the Pistons. He will one of their key players (if not the key factor) in determining whether the Pistons are able to get back to the NBA Finals.

Amir Johnson

As of right now Amir is the starting center. This move was made by Curry so that Sheed could go back to his normal position of power forward. This puts a lot of pressure on the young guy. He has to step up and play against other post players that are have more experience and/or are much bigger and stronger. Now he has the height, but he is still a skinny guy. Most big men he will go against will have a good amount of weight on him. He will have to go out every night and prove that he can hold his own against the opponent's big men. He will have to prove to his coaches, his teammates, and the fans that he has what it takes to be a starter. He has Kwame Brown and Jason Maxiell (would start at PF and Sheed would have to go back to center) breathing down his neck, waiting to get their chance as a starter if Amir can't get the job done. He's not going to be Ben Wallace for them, but he has to play his role very well and contribute on defense and offense for this team. Sheed can't be the Pistons only post threat (on either offense or defense), so Amir has to step and be that other guy to help out.


So who do you think has the most to prove this season? I think all 3 have tons to prove, and I think it's a tie between Sheed and Curry for the most to prove. I'd love to hear what you guys think.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com